In Part 1 of my two-part interview with author and email expert Chad White we covered why he wrote his new book and the double-edged sword of high email frequency. In this final Part 2 we talk about what is truly important, why marketers should leverage Twitter for email, and what fires up this email veteran.
Simms Jenkins: What are the three most important rules if you had to call them out to someone looking to take their email efforts to the next level?
Chad White: That’s tough, but I think I’d say…
“Rule #11: Focus on maximizing the value of a subscriber, not on maximizing the results of a campaign.” You’re not serving up campaigns; you’re serving subscribers. Look at the cumulative effect of your messaging on subscribers over time rather than on a per-campaign basis.
“Rule #19: Recognize that not all subscribers are equally valuable or desirable.” Unqualified list growth is a horrible program goal. Give more attention to sources that attract high-quality subscribers and less or no attention to sources that attract low-quality subscribers.
“Rule #108: Challenge your new champions.” Testing is a never-ending process. Even when you find something that works, you have to continue to challenge it.
SJ: I really liked and agree with Rule #57: Use faster channels (search, Twitter, etc.) to help determine the content of your emails. Why do so few people take advantage of resources like this to optimize their email campaigns?
CW: While the silos are really starting to erode, there’s still a lot of compartmentalization in marketing departments. Coordination and knowledge-sharing is hard. But there are very clear opportunities there to be had.
SJ: As an email veteran and a guy who has followed thousands of email programs over the years, what makes you still passionate about this channel and industry and what do you think is email’s biggest challenge and opportunity?
CW: I’m addicted to the change in our industry. As a researcher and watcher, that’s what I love about it. There’s never a shortage of issues to explore: new ISP functionality, new marketer capabilities, new cross-channel influences – and most importantly, new consumer behaviors.
Honestly, I think that both the biggest challenge and opportunity for email marketers is the pace of change. This is a “keep up or get left behind” industry. Mobile, social, big data, automation – all are big challenges and opportunities.
SJ: What will be the biggest changes for digital marketers leveraging email over the next 12 to 18 months?
CW: Adapting to a mobile email marketing world will remain a huge challenge over the next year and beyond. There’s a lot of focus on mobile-friendly email design right now, but that’s just the beginning of the changes that mobile has in store for us.
Looking further out, I believe at some point we’ll have to contend with real privacy legislation that will demand much more openness and transparency from marketers. But given how dysfunctional Washington has become, we probably have a good long while before we have to deal with that.
SJ: Thanks Chad – good luck with the book! Readers can ask Chad some additional questions here in the comments or tweet him @chadswhite.
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